Fifteen hundred Nigerians in Italian prisons

The Italian Ambassador to Nigeria, Stefano Pontesilli, revealed that approximately 1,500 Nigerians who “have not behaved well” are serving jail terms in Italian prisons. He made the revelation in Abuja while addressing allegations that Italy is responsible for sending a number of Nigerian migrants back to Libya.

Pontesilli stated that although thousands of Nigerian migrants were trapped in Libya, those who made the perilous journey to Italy were never sent back to the North African country.

“We never sent anyone, not even one single person back to Libya. Some Nigerians are stuck in Libya because they were never able to cross over to Italy. But all those who went to Italy, no one, not even one was ever sent back.” Pontesilli told reporters.

Pontesilli then emphasised that the Italian government had been doing a great deal of work on migration by saving thousands of lives, including those of Nigerians undertaking the treacherous Mediterranean crossing.

However, he also disclosed that some Nigerian migrants who made it to Italy have ended up in prison. “In Italy we have about 1, 500 Nigerians in jail. It’s a big number. We send them back to Nigeria once they finish their terms because they have not behaved well,” he said.

Pontesilli commended the “strong” bilateral relations between Nigeria and Italy, purporting that Nigeria’s stability and security are of Italy’s “foremost consideration.”

“We think that without a stable and secure country, there cannot be development. So that’s why we stand strongly behind President Muhammadu Buhari in trying to establish a strong, safe and stable Nigeria.”

Additionally, Pontesilli clarified that the Italian government had been involved in providing security training to Nigerian security officers, police, and others.

TMP – 17/07/2018